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War Within Alpha Development Notes: May 9th

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Blizzard has just posted development notes for this week's War Within Alpha build! Azj-Kahet, the final zone, is available for testing along with two new dungeons, and the usual class changes!

This week's War Within Alpha build introduces Azj-Kahet and the City of Threads and Ara-Kara, City of Echoes dungeons. A new battleground called Deephaul Ravine is added, featuring a mining theme with dynamic mechanics like controlling mine carts.

Blizzard has made significant progress toward making achievements account-wide rather than character-specific in this build.

UI improvements include more interactive character selection screens, and enhanced visuals.

Blizzard Logo(Source)

Here is this week’s update to The War Within Alpha:

NEW ZONES AND DELVES

  • Azj-Kahet

NEW DUNGEONS

  • City of Threads
  • Ara-Kara, City of Echoes

NEW BATTLEGROUND: DEEPHAUL RAVINE

  • Deephaul Ravine is themed in The Ringing Deeps where the Foreman Uzjax and Architect Ruffious are tasked with collecting as much valuable ore, gems, and crystals for their respective priorities. Ruffious the Unbound Earthen has big plans for the ore and gems found in the Deephaul Ravine, but the Machine Speakers of the Earthenworks are quite possessive of such precious materials. Uzjax and his team plan to secure these materials before Ruffious and his band of misfits get their hands on it.
    • Mechanics
      • 8v8 and 10v10 Battleground that will be available in all battleground modes.
      • Hybrid map in which teams earn points by controlling either of the two active mine carts that move along the tracks on the map, or capturing a lucrative gem (the Deephaul Crystal) that is located in the middle of the map.
      • The Deephaul Crystal can be returned at either capture point located on the high ground on the opposing sides of the map.
      • Additionally, there’s a mine cart track that runs above the battleground playspace where players can hop in a cart vehicle to quickly traverse the map, allowing for quick engagements and repositioning.
  • How to playtest: open the Group Finder (default hotkey: i), then select Random Battleground and click Join Battle! Only the Deephaul Ravine map will be available as a Random Battleground map for Alpha.

WARBANDS

  • Roughly 2000 achievements from Dragonflight and earlier have been switched from character specific to account wide in order to allow your entire Warband to make progress on them. Please note, based on the quirks of implementation, any incomplete achievements that were converted will lose all progress on alpha with this change. In the live game, these achievements will go through a conversion process which will either merge progress across all characters in your Warband together, or take the furthest progress from each character in cases where merging wouldn’t make sense (e.g. Working the Isles: Obtain 100 skill points in a “Legion” category of two primary professions" ).
    • Developer’s note: Your thoughts and feedback about specific achievement changes is appreciated. Please note that this feature is still in development and there may be some adjustments in which final achievements become account wide before launch!

CHARACTER LEVEL

Developers’ note: With each phase, we encourage players to make a new template character and avoid using their previous characters as they could potentially be in a broken state. After making a new template character, make sure to talk to Questzertauren and he will prepare you for any available content.

  • Level 78 Character Template
  • Maximum Level: 80
  • Earthen characters have been temporarily disabled.

CLASSES

  • The following Hero Talents are available for playtesting in Public Alpha 4:
    • SHAMAN
      • Stormbringer (Elemental/Enhancement)
        • Stormbringer Shaman are all about harnessing the storms, increasing the power of their lightning spells and gaining access to a new lightning ability, Tempest.
  • DEATH KNIGHT
    • New Talent: Subduing Grasp – When you pull an enemy the damage they deal to you is reduced by 4% for 6 seconds. Located at Rune Mastery’s previous location.
    • New Talent: Osmosis – Anti-Magic Shell increases healing received by 15/25%. Located at Unholy Bonds previous location.
    • New Talent: Null Magic – Magic Damage taken is reduced by 15% and the duration of harmful Magic effects against you are reduced by 35%. New capstone choice node with Vestigial Shell replacing Soul Reaper.
    • New Talent: Vestigial Shell – Casting Anti-Magic Shell grants 2 nearby allies a Lesser Anti-Magic Shell that absorbs magic damage and reduces the duration of harmful Magic effects against them by 50%. New capstone choice node with Null Magic replacing Soul Reaper.
    • New Talent: Ice Prison – Chains of Ice now also roots enemies for 4 seconds but its cooldown is increased to 12 seconds. Available in gate 1 after Blinding Sleet.
    • New Talent: Rune Protection – Your chance to be critically struck is reduced by 3% and your Armor is increased by 3/6%. Replaces Icy Talons old position within the tree.
    • Chains of Ice is now granted baseline and learned at level 13.
    • Anti-Magic Shell is now granted baseline and learned at level 14.
    • Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle can now be Runeforged on 1-handed weapons.
    • Rune of Hysteria has been removed.
      • Developer’s note: Rune of Hysteria was a problematic design especially as it pertains to Breath of Sindragosa and the volatility of its uptime. We felt that for the overall health of the spec it would be best to remove Hysteria at this time to better enable us to meet our goals with the upcoming changes to Breath.
    • Empower Rune Weapon has been removed.
      • Developer’s note: This will still be available for Frost in their spec tree but both Blood and Unholy were often flooded with resources and a big unnecessary contributor to this was Empower Rune Weapon. To better dial in resources on Blood and Unholy we feel its best to keep Empower Rune Weapon for Frost only.
    • Abomination Limb no longer grants Bone Shield, Runic Corruption, or Rime based on specialization.
      • Developer’s note: In Shadowlands it was important for the spec hooks to exist to better balance between the other covenant ability choices. With its re-introduction in Dragonflight its added to the influx of resources/procs that can often come at inopportune times or add to the feeling of being unable to spend down the bonuses it grants. By removing this it allows the ability to “breathe” on its own and lean into its strength of AoE control and damage.
    • Rune of the Apocalypse has been updated:
      • War Effect
        • Damage taken increased to 4% (was 1%).
        • Duration increased to 10 seconds (was 6 seconds).
      • Pestilence Effect
        • Damage increased by 500%.
      • Famine Effect
        • Damage dealt to the caster reduced to 5% (was 2%).
      • Death Effect
        • Healing reduction increased to 5% (was 1%).
    • Cleaving Strikes now also retains bonus effects for being within your Death and Decay for 4 seconds when leaving its area.
    • Icebound Fortitude cooldown reduced by 60 seconds.
    • Veteran of the Third War now grants 20% Stamina (was 10%). Now a 1-rank talent (was 2).
    • Icy Talons Now increases attack speed per stack by 6% (was 3%). Now a 1-rank talent (was 2).
    • Unholy Bond now increases effectiveness of Runeforge effects by 20% (was 10%). Now a 1-rank talent (was 2).
    • Assimilation now reduces the cooldown of Anti-Magic Zone by 30 seconds. No longer increase Runic Power when absorbing damage.
    • Suppression now grants an additional 6% damage reduction to area of effects when you suffer a loss of control effect. Moved to gate 3.
    • Blood Scent Leech increased to 5%. Moved to gate 3.
    • Blood Draw now also grants a buff reducing damage taken by 10% and reducing Death Strike cost by 10 for 8 seconds when falling below 30% health. Now a 1-rank talent. Moved to the left capstone position.
    • Unholy Ground moved to gate 1 available after Cleaving Strikes.
    • Sacrificial Pact is now a choice node with Enfeeble.
    • Runic Attenuation moved to gate 1 available after Coldthirst.
    • Soul Reaper moved to gate 2 available after Unholy Blond or Death’s Reach
    • The following talents have been removed:
      • Might of Thassarian
      • Merciless Strikes
      • Clenching Grasp
    • Unholy
      • New Talent: Doomed Bidding – Consuming Sudden Doom calls upon a Magus of the Dead to assist you for 8 seconds. Now a choice node with Summon Gargoyle.
        • Ghoulish Frenzy is now available in the 2nd gate replacing Unholy Command.
      • New Talent: Raise Abomination – Summons an Abomination to attack nearby enemies applying Festering Wound with its melee attacks and infecting all nearby enemies with Virulent Plague. 90 second cooldown. Replaces Army of the Dead.
      • New Talent: Foul Infections – Your diseases deal 10% more damage and have a 5% increased chance to critically strike.
      • New Talent: Menacing Magus – Your Magus of the Dead Shadow Bolt now fires a volley of Shadow Bolts at up to 4 nearby enemies.
      • Epidemic is now granted baseline and learned at level 18.
      • Outbreak is now granted baseline and learned at level 13.
      • Sudden Doom is now learned in gate 1 directly after Scourge Strike and also causes your next Death Coil or Epidemic to critically strike
        • Sudden Doom is no longer an RPPM proc and has instead been updated to have a 25% chance on auto-attacks to proc with build in bad luck protection to provide a more consistent proc.
      • Army of the Dead cooldown reduced to 3 minutes (was 8 minutes).
      • Apocalypse cooldown reduced to 45 seconds (was 90 seconds).
      • Dark Transformation cooldown reduced to 45 seconds (was 60 seconds).
      • Vile Contagion cooldown reduced to 45 seconds (was 90 seconds).
      • Festermight now functions like Ironfur, allowing multiple instances to overlap.
      • Ruptured Viscera is no longer a choice node with Magus of the Dead.
      • Ebon Fever is no longer a choice node with Bursting Sores and is available directly after Bursting Sores. Updated to also affect Frost Fever and Blood Plague if Superstrain is talented.
      • Unholy Blight moved to gate 1.
      • The following talents have been removed:
        • Replenishing Wounds
        • Army of the Damned
        • Unholy Command
        • Feasting Strike
  • DEMON HUNTER
    • Fel-Scarred
      • Fixed several issues with Burning Blades and Demonsurge not interacting with other talents.
      • Demonic Intensity tooltip updated – Activating Metamorphosis greatly empowers Eye Beam/Fel Devastation, Immolation Aura, and Sigil of Flame. Demonsurge damage is increased by 10% for each time it previously triggered while your demon form is active.
      • Fixed an issue that prevented Souls Sunder, Spirit Burst, and Sigil of Doom periodic damage from being correctly empowered.
      • Consuming Fire now correctly functions with all other Immolation Aura talents.
      • Havoc
        • Violent Transformation now also resets the cooldown of Immolation Aura in addition to its current effect.
  • EVOKER
    • Time Spiral is now a choice node with Spatial Paradox for all 3 Evoker specializations, available in the class tree.
    • Spatial Paradox cooldown increased to 3 minutes (was 2 minutes).
    • Augmentation
      • New Talent: Arcane Reach – The range of your helpful magics is increased by 5 yards. Located in Spatial Paradox’s previous location.
    • Preservation
      • Temporal Compression reduces the cast time of Empower spells by 10% per stack (was 5%).
  • MAGE
    • Sunfury
      • Arcane Soul no longer claims to reduce Arcane Barrage’s mana cost.
      • Glorious Incandescence now procs when casting Fire Blast instead of Phoenix Flames.
    • Fire
      • Lit Fuse is now applied by Fire Blast instead of Phoenix Flames.
      • Living Bomb applications are slightly desynced to minimize overlapping.
      • Living Bomb damage increased by 100%. Damage not increased in PvP combat.
      • Kindling now benefits from Flamestrike – Flamestrike critical strikes reduce the remaining cooldown of Combustion by 0.2 seconds for each critical strike, up to 1 second.
      • Unleashed Inferno’s non-Flamestrike damage bonus increased to 60%. Flamestrike damage bonus increased to 35%.
  • MONK
    • Brewmaster
      • New Talent: Elixir of Determination – When you fall below 40% health, gain an absorb for 100% of recently Purified damage, or a minimum of 20% of your maximum health. Cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds.
      • New Talent: Strike At Dawn – Rising Sun Kick grants a stack of Elusive Brawler.
      • New Talent: One With the Wind – You have a 10% chance to not reset your Elusive Brawler stacks on a successful dodge.
      • New Talent: August Blessing – When you would be healed above maximum health, you instead convert an amount equal to 40% of your critical strike chance to a heal over time effect.
      • New Talent: Ox Stance – Casting Purifying Brew grants charges/stacks of Ox Stance, based on Stagger level. When you take damage that is greater than 60% of your current health, a charge is consumed to increase the amount you Stagger.
      • New Talent: Black Ox Adept – Rising Sun Kick grants a stack of Ox Stance.
      • New Talent: Heightened Guard – Ox Stance will now trigger when an attack is larger than 50% of your current health.
      • Chi Surge and Call to Arms are no longer a choice talent.
      • Anvil & Stave has been updated – Each time you dodge or an enemy misses, you reduce the remaining cooldown on your Brews by 0.5/1 second. Effect reduced for each recent melee attacker. Was 3 second internal cooldown.
      • Improved Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox has been updated – While Niuzao is active, Purifying Brew increases the damage of Niuzao’s next Stomp, based on Stagger level. Damage is split between all enemies. Was Stagger Purified
      • The following talents have been removed:
        • Healing Elixir
        • Clash (moved to class tree)
        • Graceful Exit
        • Bonedust Brew
        • Bountiful Brew
        • Attenuation
    • Windwalker
      • New Talent: Memory of the Monastery – Tiger Palm’s chance to activate Blackout Kick! Is increased by 15% and consuming Teachings of the Monastery grants you 1% haste for 5 seconds equal to the amount of stacks consumed.
      • Revolving Whirl now additionally reduces the cooldown of Whirling Dragon Punch by 5 seconds.
      • Fury of Xuen now increases Critical Strike chance (was haste) and Invokes Xuen, the White Tiger for 10 seconds (was 8 seconds).
      • Fixed an issue that caused Jade Ignition’s damage to be reduced during Storm, Earth, and Fire.
      • Skytouch has been removed.
  • PRIEST
    • Voidweaver
      • Void Blast base insanity generation reduced to 6 (was 8).
      • Depth of Shadows’ chance to summon a Shadowfiend reduced.
  • ROGUE
    • New Talent: Shadowheart – Leech increased by 3% while Stealthed.
    • Acrobatic Strikes has been redesigned – Auto-attacks increase auto-attack damage and movement speed by 1% for 3 seconds, stacking up to 10%.
      • Developer’s note: Acrobatic Strikes no longer increases the range of melee attacks. We are revisiting increased melee range talents across the game, and most are being removed. Default melee range has increased since these talents were originally created, allowing specs with increased range to attack from well outside where it appears they should be able to.
    • Cut to the Chase moved from Assassination talent tree to baseline all specs, triggering from Envenom/Dispatch/Eviscerate.
    • Vanish’s guaranteed stealth duration now 1.5 seconds in PvP combat (base 3 seconds).
    • Tight Spender now reduces Energy cost of finishing moves by 6% (was 10%).
    • Subterfuge is now a 2-point talent, effect duration 3/6 seconds.
    • Some talents have moved locations.
    • Without a Trace moved from Subtlety to Class tree in capstone location, replacing Shadow Dance.
    • Nightstalker has been removed.
    • Assassination
      • New Talent: Rapid Injection – Envenom deals 10% increased damage while Envenom’s effect is active.
      • Serrated Bone Spike has been redesigned – (Passive) Prepare a Serrated Bone Spike every 30 seconds, stacking up to 3. Rupture spends a stack to embed a bone spike in its target:
        • Deals Physical damage and Bleed damage every 3 seconds until the target dies or leaves combat. Refunds a stack when the target dies.
        • Generates 1 combo point plus 1 additional per active bone spike.
      • Serrated Bone Spike initial damage reduced by 24% and damage over time damage reduced by 9%.
      • Improved Garrote effect duration increased to 6 seconds (was 3 seconds).
      • Indiscriminate Carnage effect duration reduced to 6 seconds (was 10 seconds).
      • Kingsbane damage bonus per poison application now has a stated cap at 1000% from 50 stacks (was 1980% at 99 stacks).
      • Kingsbane base damage over time increased by 6%.
        • Developer’s note: Kingsbane was originally intended to be uncapped, but abilities and talents introduced in the Dragonflight expansion allowed players to reach its previously-unreachable hidden cap. Increasing or removing the cap in the current environment would reinforce poor gameplay outcomes and continue to constrain talent options, so a lower cap is being introduced with the intention of having Kingsbane remain a valuable component of any build that includes it, but not by being required as every build’s all-important main character.
      • Sepsis has been removed.
    • Outlaw
      • Ace Up Your Sleeve now grants 4 combo points when triggered (was 5).
      • Mastery: Main Gauche damage increased by 24%.
      • Adrenaline Rush has been updated:
        • No longer increases global cooldown recovery rate by 25% while active.
        • Now increases global cooldown recovery rate equal to your Haste while active, up to 25%.
        • Now increases Energy regeneration by 50% (was 60%).
      • Count the Odds effect now has base chance 10% (was 8%) and duration 8 seconds (was 5 seconds), but no longer doubled while Stealthed.
      • Underhanded Upper Hand no longer affects Slice and Dice duration and no longer grants 3 seconds of Subterfuge duration (Stealth ability use).
      • Crackshot’s Dispatch effectiveness reduced to 50% (was 75%).
      • Thief’s Versatility now increases Versatility by 3% (was 4%).
      • Some talents have moved locations.
      • Sepsis has been removed.
    • Subtlety
      • Premeditation has been redesigned – After entering Stealth, your next combo point generating ability generates full combo points.
      • Invigorating Shadowdust now reduces cooldowns by 10/20 seconds (was 15/30 seconds).
      • Shadow Dance moved from the Class talent tree to Subtlety talent tree.
      • Shadow Focus now reduces costs by 5%.
      • Some talents have moved locations.
  • WARLOCK
    • Hellcaller
      • Seeds of Their Demise has been redesigned – Blackened Soul damage increased by 30%. When Blackened Soul deals damage, you have a chance to gain Ritual of Ruin/Tormented Crescendo.
      • Malevolence, Wither, and Seeds of Their Demise icons have been updated.
    • Demonology
        • You now have a 35% chance (was 100% chance) to generate a Demonic Core from your summoned Dreadstalkers when they fade.
    • Destruction
      • New Talent: Devastation – Increases the Critical Strike chance of your Destruction spells by 5%.
      • New Talent: Emberstorm – Increases the damage done by your Fire spells by 2/4% and reduces the cast time of your Incinerate spell by 10/20%.
      • New Talent: Decimating Bolt – Hurl bolts of decimating magic at your target, dealing Shadow damage and increase the damage of your next 3 Incinerates by 40%. Decimating Bolt’s damage, and the bonus to Incinerate both increase as your target’s health decreases.
      • New Talent: Summoner’s Embrace – Increases the damage dealt by your spells and your demon by 3%.
      • Ruin has been redesigned – Increases the Critical Strike damage of your Destruction spells by 5/10%.
      • Inferno has been redesigned – Rain of Fire damage is increased by 20% and its Soul Shard cost is reduced by 1.
      • Decimation has been redesigned – Your Incinerate and Conflagrate casts on targets that have 35% or less health reduces the cooldown of Soulfire by 5 seconds and reduce its cast time by 40% for 10 seconds.
      • Chaos Incarnate has been redesigned – Chaos Bolt, Rain of Fire, and Shadowburn always gain 70% of the maximum benefit from your Mastery: Chaotic Energies.
      • Chaos Bolt has been removed from the Destruction specialization tree and is now baseline.
      • Conflagrate has been moved to row 1.
      • Backdraft has been moved to row 2.
      • Roaring Blaze and Improved Conflagrate have been moved to row 3.
      • Ruin has been moved to row 9.
      • The following talents have been removed:
        • Avatar of Destruction
        • Chaosbringer

USER INTERFACE AND ACCESSIBILITY

  • Improved clarity when enchanting items:
    • Cursor highlight when mousing over items that can be enchanted by current enchantment
    • Dimming icons of non-enchantable items
    • Animations when an item has been enchanted
  • Updates to many world map icons, including: Rare, Rare Elite, Cave Entrances, Teleporters, Great Vault, Catalyst Convertor, Digsites, Pet Bettles, Dungeon, and Raid.
  • Checkboxes for tracking have been added to the quest log for easier management.
  • Characters on the character select screen are now directly clickable within the scene.
  • The Group Manager has been updated with new art and feature improvements, including:
    • Additional options to restrict group pings
    • Easier access to both world and unit raid markers
    • UI panel reorganized so related options are together in sections
    • Added instance options previously only found in the character portrait dropdown
  • Health bars have been updated with a visualization that shows the percentage of temporary max health that is depleted.

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10 minutes ago, Prophet001 said:

They seem to be doing some serious class overhauling.

Excited to see how they turn out.

I'm very interested in what they're doing with Unholy, my favorite fantasy archetype is the necromancer and UH hasn't really felt like a necromancer since they only have 3 abilities that summon undead and they're all CDs. Having sudden doom death coils summon a magus of the dead fixes that slightly, although I really wish one of the hero talent trees was more focused on that aspect of a death knight.

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